America and Japan: Trump should be aware of “Abe bearing Financial Incentives”
Kanako Itamae and Lee Jay Walker
Modern Tokyo Times
President Donald Trump of America and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe are holding important talks. Yet, for Abe, it is business like usual in the sense of protecting and promoting Japanese business. However, for Trump, his policy agenda will become clear after all meetings between both leaders are over. This is based on nations like China and Japan being singled out by Trump for manipulating trade and respective currencies in order to benefit at the expense of America.
In other words, platitudes are all well and good but the issue for people who elected Trump is to promote fairer opportunities for American companies and the same obviously applies to labor. Hence, Trump should be aware of “Abe bearing financial incentives.”
Of course, in the realm of geopolitics both America and Japan share common vested interests based on recent history. This reality will remain potent for the foreseeable future unless either nation seeks to break the chain. Therefore, the stationing of American forces in Japan will remain whereby both nations can gain from overlapping self-interests.
However, in the realm of equal business access – despite all nations adopting certain amounts of protectionism to varying degrees – the reality is that Japan’s access to America’s market is extremely more favorable than the opposite direction. Given this reality, Trump promised to reset the clock with nations including China, Mexico, and Japan, in the area of fair trade, currency manipulation, and other important areas.
Trump in the past said, “I pledge to never sign any trade agreement that hurts our workers or that diminishes our freedom and independence. We will never ever sign bad trade deals. America first again.”
CNN in 2015 reports, “Whether it’s China or Japan or Mexico, they’re all taking our jobs, and we need jobs in this country. It’s enough, what we’re doing with foreign trade.”
In the area of geopolitics then Trump will not brook the trend of challenging the extremely important relationship with Japan. Trump said, “We are committed to the security of Japan and all areas under its administrative control and to further strengthening our very crucial alliance… The bond between our two nations and the friendship between our two peoples runs very, very deep. This administration is committed to bringing those ties even closer.”
Therefore, the real concern for Abe is the trade arena based on Trump’s rhetoric of putting America first. Reuters reports, “Abe pledged Japan would help create U.S. jobs, hoping to persuade Trump to turn down the heat on economic matters and stand by the alliance.”
Hence, the importance of the meeting between Trump and Abe revolves around trade issues. This notably applies to the Trump administration because it promises to implement new trade agreements and initiatives. The outcome being fresh hope to deprived areas in America along with boosting the business community. Therefore, fair trading opportunities, tackling certain nations that manipulate currencies, maintaining jobs internally, and other important issues, are part and parcel of Trump’s rhetoric in putting America first.
Given this reality, while Abe will be happy with preserving much of the status quo the onus is on Trump. Either a new trade approach is in the offing – or, just like under past American leaders, it is business like usual for the America economy whereby unfavorable trade deficits and other negative factors remain.
In a sense, it means that Trump must be aware of “Abe bearing financial incentives,” if this means that genuine negative underlying issues aren’t ironed out.
Modern Tokyo News is part of the Modern Tokyo Times group
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